Judge Handling Antitrust Case Believes Google Suppressed Evidence

(NewsReady.com) – App developers have complained about Google’s Play Store for years. The store comes pre-downloaded on Android phones and tablets, allowing the company to have access to millions of devices. The big tech giant is also known for charging developers high fees. Epic Games recently won a lawsuit against the company based on those issues, and the judge in the case blasted Google.

On December 11, a jury unanimously ruled in favor of Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, in an antitrust lawsuit against Google. Prior to the verdict, US District Judge James Donato slammed the tech giant after it rested its defense and the jury left the courtroom.

The judge said that he saw “disturbing evidence” that Google commonly instructs its employees to label documents privileged and private, and a failure to keep chat evidence. Donato said he’d “never seen anything so egregious” and called the “willful and intentional suppression” of evidence in the lawsuit “deeply troubling to [him] as an officer of the court.”

Donato’s eruption came after Mrinalini Loew, Google Play’s general manager, testified in the case. The judge said her testimony helped demonstrate that the tech giant intentionally deleted messages in an attempt to protect itself. He vowed to investigate what happened and who was responsible for suppressing the evidence. The judge said that determination would be separate from what happened in the Epic Games case.

The judge sanctioned Google in March for deleting the logs. The Department of Justice was involved in the case and made the destruction of records one of its main themes. DOJ Attorney Kenneth Dintzer claimed Google hid records because it knew it violated US antitrust laws.

Google is fighting another antitrust case too. That one is about whether the company has created a search engine monopoly. The judge in that case is also dealing with missing documents and must determine whether to sanction Google over the issue.

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